Did you ever get a kind of goosebumpy feeling on your scalp? That’s ASMR. What causes it? All kinds of things, but especially relaxing voices and sounds. That’s why ASMR is branching out from its natural home on YouTube and into podcasts.
Here are my thoughts on what’s out there at the moment. (Where possible I listened wearing headphones, as the creators intended.)
The Top 7 ASMR Podcasts
1. ASMR University Podcast
In episode 1, Dr. Craig Richard narrates the history of ASMR. It was first labeled ASMR in 2010. Before that it was briefly known as ‘attention-induced head orgasms’. Before that there was a 2007 forum discussion that used the phrase ‘a weird sensation that feels good’. His talk goes further and further back in time through Bob Ross and Mr Rogers, through Roman times, and even to cavemen and protohumans.
Dr. Craig, or ‘Prof’ to his friends, has a mellifluous voice that’s very easy to listen to. My only complaint is that the content is too interesting. As it is, if you’re interested in ASMR beyond the videos and podcasts -- questions like ‘What was the first ASMR video?’ -- then let Prof school you.
I think this is just great.
2. Sleep Whispers
Whispered ramblings & readings to help you sleep
Yes, yes, yes! This is what I want. It’s hosted by Harris, and Harris has been putting me to sleep the last few nights. He’s made 132 episodes, but only the most recent are available for free on the iTunes feed. For a small pledge on his Patreon page you can get access to the older ones. I’m tempted.
I started with the Trivia episode. It’s like a pub quiz that puts you to sleep. Other episodes include ‘whisperpedias’ where he reads a Wikipedia page, story readings, and chats.
Everything about it is perfect, from the air-light piano in the intro to the dude’s voice, cadence, and timing. Listen for yourself.
UPDATE -- Goddamit. Goddamit all to hell! I just realised that Harris is none other than Dr. Craig Richard from ASMR University! Ah, well. He can keep both top spots on this list for now.
The host here is called Queen of Serene and she has a popular YouTube channel. One of her recent episodes features you (the listener) in the role of someone receiving a telemarketing call. From that, you might be thinking ASMR is bonkers, and you’d be totally right. But the host finds those calls relaxing, and when the telemarketer has a voice as smooth as this, you’ll be happy to stay on the line too.
There’s also a lot of ASMR staples -- episodes featuring oils, candles, lucid dreaming.
4. Vizzion ASMR
These guys are nuts. Seems to be two Germans with an active Youtube channel and the podcast feed is buzzing.
I started with an episode called ‘Psycho Doctor Role Play’ and it’s basically the kind of the thing a serial killer would leave at a crime scene to taunt the police. It starts as a normal role play where a doctor is checking you out, then ‘he’ leaves the room and these two degenerates come in and start torturing you while cackling ‘the doctor will be back soon -- the OTHER doctor because WE are doctors too!’
Super creepy. Imaginative. And funny. They do collaborations with other ASMRtists too, which is normally a good sign.
5. The ASMR Podcast
This features contributions from people like Sherlock ASMR (telling Sherlock Holmes stories), Sweet Whispers ASMR, Ariel ASMR and more. Episodes 69 and 70 were released in September 2017, and 71 came out just last week (in July 18). Long gap, bit strange, but at least it’s still ongoing.
I tried some Sherlock Holmes readings. The Scottish voice is really nice but sounds like it needs a glass of water just to minimise the mouth sounds. Those episodes are 10 minutes long, so a bit too short to reliably fall asleep to. Great for getting drowsy before bedtime though.
Then I checked out a Sweet Whispers episode because it said ‘Mature Content’ and that intrigued me. She has an interesting accent that I can’t quite place. Mostly American with some Scottish bits? Anyway, she’s great. Very relaxing and foxy.
Seems like there’s something for everyone on this feed.
6. Jenny Does ASMR
As always, I chose the nutjobbiest episode as a starting point -- two women bickering (in a whisper), one in each ear. Where do people get these ideas?
Scratch that -- it isn’t two women, it’s Jenny, twice. In the YouTube video she has done herself up like a dude and the results are terrifying.
It’s actually creative and an interesting soundscape. My only worry is that it’s new -- so far there are 3 episodes and the host might decide to quit and I wrote this for nothing.
7. The ASMR Garden
The host here is a young lady called Melly (Meli? Melie?). She has a good voice and a soft, gentle manner. She recording one episode the day after her wedding, so that’s a kind of dedication.
A good starting place here is ‘Monitoring Your Dreams (with Chimes)’. It’s a kind of role play but with chimes in the background. I stopped listening after a few minutes because I wanted to save it for naptime. I think it’s going to knock me out.
Other ASMR Podcast Reviews
Sleep with Silk
This hasn’t been updated since November 17, but the episode history shows there are long stretches with no new uploads. It’s worth checking out the archive anyway because there are some absolute gems there. There are episodes from a range of ASMRtists, from ASMRloa to that guy with the eyebrows via someone squishing a cabbage.
Note: While most of what I heard what very pleasant, at least one episode (SoftAnna) was impossible to listen to because of the recording quality.
One feature of ASMR videos is a dreamy, whispery intro, usually featuring enormous gaps between the letters A and S and M and then an even longer pause before R. ASMR Quest starts with one of those, then there’s a record scratch sound, then two guys start yelling at each other. ‘WE DON’T DO ASMR WE JUST TALK ABOUT IT’. So what’s with the intro, you muppets?
Dude 1 complains about children for 10 minutes then the other guy says ‘but we’re an ASMR podcast’ then they agree to postpone ‘the ASMR bit’ until 30 minutes in. So 30-minutes of self-indulgence before the content we signed up for.
Fuck that, says me. But I’m a bit of a perfectionist and completionist and ended up skipping to the 30 minute mark and they indeed were talking about ASMR. Amazingly, it’s as annoying as the rest of it.
Ugh. Veto. Delete. Unsubscribe.
Brian’s ASMR World
This is a good show. Brian seems to prefer whisper videos. He hasn’t posted in a while, though. He’s still adding to his YouTube channel so maybe he didn’t get enough feedback about the podcast to keep that going.